Leadership from the Medical Community for Low-Income Students: LifeBound and La Casa/Quigg Newton Family Health Center Promote Reading, Literacy and Opportunity

Summer learning losses are a real threat to all students entering the summer months. Providing kids with educational games, activities, materials, and experiences during their summer vacation is crucial in retaining information learned during the school year and preparing them for the transition into next year.

More than half of the achievement gap dividing learning levels between low-and high-income students is explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. This learning gap that begins in grade school, can eventually lead to low-income adolescents dropping out of high school and not entering college at a much higher rate than their more affluent peers.1 Low-income families must be given the same learning opportunities as more advantaged families in order to level the playing field. Basic materials, like books, games, and computers, can make all the difference in the future of low-income students and their families. Simply making learning materials more accessible to low-income families can be the force that closes the achievement gap and breaks the poverty cycle.

But who will provide the materials and how do we get summer learning materials to those who need it most? Providing materials through community services, like family health centers, libraries, and housing projects are becoming a popular avenue for both those supplying the materials and those receiving.

This summer, LifeBound is working with Dr. Morris M. Askenazi at La Casa/Quigg Newton Family Health Center (part of Denver Health) in Denver to bring reading materials to the low-income, Spanish-speaking clinic. We are providing our book Study Skills for High School Students  to be read by middle school and high school students with their parents. Study Skills is filled with practical studying advice, but also serves as a vehicle to promote literacy and help English language learners improve their language skills. Parent involvement is an important part of this summer learning model, as it gets students and their parents learning together, encourages parents to pursue higher degrees of education, and promotes learning during the summer months.  We are honored to work with the physicians, physicians assistants, and nurses at this clinic to support learning, reading and college readiness among their population. Dr. Askenazi’s leadership is just one of many ways people from the community around the U.S. are stepping up to support our schools, teachers, parents, and counselors.

If you’re interested in learning about what other summer programs LifeBound is providing, see my article from earlier this week on our partnership with the Omaha Public Library.


1“Know the Facts” http://www.summerlearning.org/?page=know_the_facts

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